Friday, January 30, 2009

don praisner (1932-2009)

Councilmember Don Praisner at Burtonsville Day last year.

Washington Post article

County press release

Two days shy of the one-year anniversary of his wife's passing, Councilmember Don Praisner succumbed to colon cancer this afternoon at the age of 76. Praisner won a special election last spring for the District 4 seat, which had been held by his wife Marilyn Praisner for seventeen years.

They always say that when one spouse passes away, the other is quick to follow. It's hard to imagine how much strength it must have taken for Don, a grieving widower, to come out of retirement and attempt to complete his wife's Council term. Growing up, I lost four family members in less than three years. I still remember my grandfather sitting in his easy chair when we came to visit, watching television with no interest, quietly sobbing whenever somebody mentioned Nani, my grandmother, who had just passed away.

It's even harder to appreciate how difficult it must be for the Praisner children and grandchildren, who have seen both of their parents pass away in just shy of a year. Don and Marilyn were not only the head of a large and prominent East County family, they were for decades the heads of our community. And we join the Praisner family in commemorating two long, fruitful lives.

I cannot help but wonder: where do we go from here?


Sharon Dooley said...

Don and Marilyn Praisner have both shown us what service to the community and our country should be.
They have set an example, that although it will be difficult to follow, should be a future template for elected officials in this county and elsewhere.
As they both demonstrated - to quote President Obama, it wasn't 'always about them' - it was about the rest of us and we will all be poorer for their passing.
I valued their friendship and am saddened by these events.

jones said...

An enormous gap has been left in this complex community by a dynamic family. As a former challenger to Ms Praisner, I greatfully appeciate her contributions and her husbands continued effort to that history.

It is a legacy that will be respected for generations to come.

Mike Jones

Thomas Hardman said...

As I have mentioned elsewhere, this is a time of mourning for all concerned, from the close family of the Praisners to the staffers at the County Council offices, down to the generic residents of the County and particularly to the residents of Council District 4.

Both of the Praisners led exemplary lives of dedicated public service and you really cannot ask for more from anyone.

That being said, once again, District 4 is without direct district-based representation in County Council. The law requires that we have a special election, and while I am not likely to run, I take deep interest in those who will, and what they can do for District 4. Where will we be able to find someone who can follow in the footsteps? Who will stand up for the special needs of District 4?